Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition August 23, 2021

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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50 Issues

in this issue

2 min
in brief

Worldwide, coronavirus cases have exceeded 209 million, almost 4.4m people have died, and 4.8 billion vaccine doses have been given. New Zealand went into a three-day lockdown on Aug. 18 after Auckland reported the country’s first case of Covid-19 since February. The death toll from the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on Aug. 14 has climbed past 1,400 people. The devastation in Les Cayes (above) and other towns has left about 30,000 families homeless in the poorest country in the Americas. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada called an election for Sept. 20. He’s seeking to retake a parliamentary majority with his Liberal Party. His main rival at the polls is Erin O’Toole, the Conservative Party leader. Canadian doughnut and coffee chain Tim Hortons plans to list its Chinese joint venture in New…

3 min
the u.s. can’t abandon afghanistan

The disintegration of the Afghan state over a few short weeks has been shocking to watch. It shouldn’t have been surprising. After President Joe Biden announced plans to pull U.S. troops out of the country in April, the Taliban swept through every major city and, on Aug. 15, captured the capital of Kabul. Targeted U.S. airstrikes and a rushed deployment of troops bought time for more evacuations, but many thousands who worked for and trusted us remain stranded. And no one should doubt: The Taliban is now in command. This is a disaster on multiple levels. Afghanistan’s democracy is already eviscerated. Its economic gains will be reversed. Jobs and homes and lives will be lost. Ethnic minorities will be imperiled and extremists emboldened. Drug networks will expand, and refugee flows will surge.…

1 min
rocky retreat

The Bank of Korea holds its policy meeting on Aug. 26. Governor Lee Ju-yeol says officials will discuss raising a key interest rate. Inflation in South Korea picked up speed in July. Kamala Harris heads to Southeast Asia on Aug. 22, aiming to shore up U.S. relations with the countries at China’s doorstep. She’ll be the first vice president to visit Vietnam. Nancy Pelosi is calling lawmakers back to Washington on Aug. 23 to vote on the Senate’s budget resolution. She will need near-unanimous Democratic support to pass it. Kathy Hochul becomes governor of New York on Aug. 24, replacing Andrew Cuomo, who resigned in the wake of harassment allegations from 11 women. NASA and SpaceX are targeting Aug. 28 for a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station, delivering a variety of…

9 min
a lost chance to track covid?

The origin story of Covid-19 remains a mystery mired in contentious geopolitical debate. But a research paper that languished in publishing limbo for a year and a half contains meticulously collected data and photographic evidence supporting scientists’ initial hypothesis—that the outbreak stemmed from infected wild animals—which prevailed until speculation that SARS-CoV-2 escaped from a nearby lab gained traction. According to the report, which was published in June in the online journal Scientific Reports, minks, civets, raccoon dogs, and other mammals known to harbor coronaviruses were sold in plain sight for years in shops across the city, including the now-infamous Huanan wet market, to which many of the earliest Covid cases were traced. The data in the report was collected over 30 months by Xiao Xiao, a virologist whose roles straddled epidemiology…

6 min
amazon hits china's seller

Obscure Chinese makers of everything from wireless headphones to kitchen mops that wanted to crack the U.S. market for several years have turned to the world’s biggest e-commerce company for help. They use an Inc. program called Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) that allows third-party merchants to store their goods in its warehouses and let the U.S. company handle delivery, returns, and exchanges. To get attention on Amazon’s sprawling marketplace, many Chinese sellers offer freebies or even cash to consumers willing to write favorable product reviews. Amazon once allowed such incentives in exchange for reviews to help introduce products to customers. But it began discouraging the practice in 2016, realizing freebies compromised the integrity of customer reviews. Many merchants ignored the new rules by recruiting shoppers on Facebook and reimbursing…

5 min
can a new owner pump up reebok?

When Adidas AG announced its purchase of Reebok in 2005, it heralded the $3.8 billion deal as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” With its cult following among fitness fanatics and a strong U.S. presence, Reebok stood to double Adidas’s sales in the crucial North American market, where archrival Nike Inc. held a commanding lead. But Reebok quickly turned out to be a stone in the German company’s shoe. The aerobics boom from the 1980s had long fizzled and innovations like the Reebok Pump inflatable shoe proved short-lived fads. Adidas embarked on an endless restructuring effort as it tried year after year to halt Reebok’s decline. By the end of 2020, patience in Herzogenaurach—a sleepy town in rural Bavaria where Adidas is based—had waned, and Chief Executive Officer Kasper Rorsted put the company up…